Thursday 16 February 2012

Cristian Lacroix - the hen’s tooth tie

Over the past week or so we have been hearing from costume designer Louise Page, who has kindly been sharing her memories of the Tenth Doctor’s ties.
Before she talks about Tie Four - her personal favourite - I’ve got to share with you a recent eBay find.

Tie four is one of the rarest worn by David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor.

Commonly referred to as the Swirly Tie, it is actually a tie by high-end French fashion house Christian Lacroix.

As you will soon hear from Louise, when she found it at London’s Selfridges, it was the only one available.
Usually she would buy three or four repeats so she had spares for stunt-doubles, stand-ins and damages, but she made an exception with this one because she fell in love with it at first sight.

Later this did cause production problems, but that’s a whole other story for another day.

So it’s a bit of a red-letter day when an original Christian Lacroix tie, abet in a colour way variation, turns up on eBay!

I had been trawling eBay for months and looked at more listings for Christian Lacroix ties than I care to mention – a lot of which in my eyes are pretty horrendous.

So when I spotted this one, it was a pretty special day.

The tie was part of a job-lot of the same label, but there’s no mistaking it there on the right. I almost missed it.

Waiting for the auction to close was nail-biting stuff, but luckily I secured the item with an offer that couldn’t be turned down.

After an exciting couple of days the ties arrived and I carefully unwrapped them.

I’m sure the other two ties were very expensive when new, but they were quickly cast aside to find the prize in the batch.

Now obviously it’s not the correct colourway, but it IS the real deal.

What it does give us is the exact correct pattern and shapes of the design, and reveals what happens beyond the knot – the part of the tie that just isn’t seen on screen.

This proved to be a real surprise to me, as there is basically nothing. It is just blank, black silk with no pattern or design at all.
The tail of the tie does have a rotated repeat of the front, but again this quickly gives way to plain silk.

The whole swirly pattern is part of the weave of the tie, with a vignette from pale pink to magenta, giving it a simulated highlight diagonally across the tie.

Inside some of the shapes the plain fabric has a twill in the weave, giving it a slightly different colour as another thread comes through from the back. These are the patches that have been the subject of much contention.
Having seen this tie for real I understand how this confusion has happened, and I’ll expand on this in the future, so stay tuned.

This really is a rare tie and I feel over the moon to have one in my possession.

It’s as rare as hen’s teeth - and I’ve got chickens. None of mine have teeth.


  1. Quite the find Steve. You've done the impossible yet again!
    I imagine you'll write up a comparison piece between the real deal and the Magnoli replica. How do they compare pattern-wise?

    1. A full review of the two Magnoli versions compared directly to this tie has now been published.

  2. WOW! That is amazing! How did I miss out on this....

    1. I had been searching for years, and nearly missed it myself.
      It was only cos I took a double take that I realised it was the real-deal.

      Crying shame it not the right colour way though.

  3. Awesome! This was always my favorite tie too.

    I'm very surprised at the way the tie just stops it's pattern. Though it does look rather smart in the way that it does this.

    Great find Steve!

  4. I've been reading through therpf and i know that Magnoli is making a new swirly tie, is it anything to do with you purchasing this tie?